If your get up and go has got up and gone and the joy, energy and enthusiasm you once felt for your goals is turning into exhaustion, frustration and a sense of obligation you may suffering from goal fatigue.
Goal fatigue can happen to anyone, but recognising the signs and putting some simple procedures in place will help you maintain your motivation and drive and keep moving towards those dreams of yours.
How to Recognise Goal Fatigue
When we are striving for a big goal it takes time and dedicated effort and it is normal to have a slump where you lose some of that initial motivation and drive. Slumps are normal and usually short lived, but goal fatigue is so much more than that and if left unchecked can signal the death knoll for your dreams.
We can recognise goal fatigue it by how it feels, if you start to feel uninspired, unexcited and or unmotivated pay attention. Feeling like your goals are obligations that weigh you down rather than something you have chosen is another important sign that you need to make some adjustments. Your goals should excite you and bring you joy as should the process.
What Causes It?
Too many big goals at once.
It is easy to take on too many big goals when we are buzzing with motivation and excitement. Once we have committed to making changes to better ourselves or our situation it’s normal that we want to apply that excitement and energy to as many areas as possible, but it is one of the reasons we get burnt out. Remember small steps lead to the greatest progress. Give yourself a break and take it slowly.
It is important to identify when you want to achieve your goal by- that's how we make them SMART. Those deadlines are meant to be something to work towards, they, like boundaries, are supposed to be fluid, not something we use to beat ourselves up with. Quite often things arise that we just hadn’t anticipated, life happens and things can take longer than we predict or would like, allowing yourself to bend those deadlines will take the pressure off of keep those dreams alive. So what if it take a year rather than 6 months the important thing is to keep moving, not how fast you go.
We don’t rest and recharge between goals.
I see this a lot, the minute a goal has been achieved we are on to the next big challenge. No time to waste. Take the time to catch your breath and reflect on how far you’ve come before moving on to the next thing, you need to give yourself a pat on the back every now and then and you deserve to savour your achievements, big and small.
The comparison trap.
We are all guilty of this, we look at how far (we think) others have come and we beat ourselves up about not being where they are. First of all your journey is your journey and what you need to grow and flourish is unique to you, as are your lessons and challenges. And secondly we have no idea what is really going on for other people, their struggles and challenges or the sacrifices they have had to make to get where they are. Keep your focus on yourself, it’s your life, they are your dreams.
Focusing on what´s left to do.
When we focus more on what we still need to do instead of what we have already achieved, the progress we are making or how we are growing through this transition we are setting ourselves up for failure. Human´s have a tendency towards negativity and to ensure we don´t let that negativity bias slow us down or stop us altogether we must make a conscious effort to focus on the good, celebrate the wins and look mostly towards the next step taking only occasional glimpses at the end goal.
5 Ways to Beat Goal Fatigue
Prioritise Rest, Relaxation and Fun
Rest – really rest. I don’t mean take a break and do the laundry, tackle the spring cleaning or do any other activity that could be considered an arduous task, really take a break, rest, do something for the pure pleasure of it. Productivity can kill creativity if you don’t make room for play. Prioritize fun and make space for the frivolous, it will give you a renewed sense of energy to move forward. Whatever fun means to you – do that!
Celebrate your wins.
This is fundamental. When we don’t make a conscious effort to acknowledge and celebrate our wins it’s easy to lose track of our progress. We move along, changing growing and evolving without acknowledging our hard work. Celebrating our wins helps beat goal fatigue and it helps build resilience- that holy grail of human psychology that allows us bounce back better when difficulties arise. Identify milestones on the way to achieving your goals and celebrate them.
Reconnect to your why
What’s your intrinsic motivation for pursuing your goals? It’s easy to lose sight of our why when we are on the treadmill of task completion. If you find yourself losing sight of why you even started reconnect to your reasons for starting in the first place. What will your life look like when you achieve your goal? If this is really challenging it could be a sign that you need to re-define your goals- just because you commit to something doesn’t mean you have to see it through if it no longer has meaning.
Deadlines are to be used for motivation not as a punishment, so what If takes forever to get there- the time is going to pass anyway and that is why the journey is as important as the destination.
Give Yourself a Break
We are our own worst enemies and harshest critics. Give yourself a break, be kind to yourself and talk to yourself the same way you would talk to someone you really loved and cherished, and watch the magic happen. As Jack Kornfield says “ if your compassion doesn’t include yourself it is incomplete”
Have you experienced goal fatigue? What helped shift it? Share in the comments below.